Sorry to ruin the suspense for those of you hoping to watch the results on Tivo, but it looks like Sarkozy's beaten Royale as expected to become President of France. News accounts keep indicating that a Sarkozy win heralds big changes but, frankly, I'm pretty skeptical. Sarkozy winning represents . . . the incumbent party staying in power. Yes, Sarkozy had a falling out with Jacques Chirac, but my strong recollection from when that happened was that it was more a personal rivalries kind of thing than a major disagreement over policy.

Obviously, I'm not an expert, but even though the Times says his win "was also a triumph of a platform proposing far-reaching changes for Europe’s third-largest economy over one stressing the need to preserve the country’s welfare state" it's hard to see. This platform sees notable mostly for its platitudinal quality: "conquer unemployment," "schools that guarantee success for all children" -- sure, sounds good to me. We'll see, I guess.